Continuing Education: How to Learn For Free

Become a well-rounded asset on the cheap with these online resources.

Learning ain’t cheap.

The average private college tuition will run you a cool $32,000 and change per year, and even in-state public colleges will have you around $40,000 in the hole by the end of your four years there. Not to mention, college grads are heading out into the real world with a degree in one hand and an average of $37,000 worth of student loan debt in the other.

And don’t even get us started on grad school.

After throwing all that money at your education, shelling out more dough to learn some new skills post-graduation is a luxury many of us can’t afford. But when you’re living and working in the digital age, where new computer systems and methodologies for various work disciplines are created on a semi-regular basis, continuing education is a necessary evil.

The good news? There are some free online resources you can use right now to take your skill set to the next level, that will help mold you into a well-rounded asset to any company (even without a graduate degree hanging above your desk). Here’s where to go to bolster your resume—for free.

Khan Academy

Let’s be real: There are definitely a few college courses that you look back on as an adult and wish you would have paid a bit more attention to—instead of rolling in 10 minutes late hungover from the previous night’s kegger. Khan Academy to the rescue. They offer access to videos educating you on those core college topics you might want to brush up on—or you know, learn for the first time. With over 10,000 free videos to choose from on topics that range from science to finance to computer coding, there’s a little something for everyone, regardless of what industry you work in.

Coursera

Coursera offers online courses through some of the most top-notch universities—yes, you can brag to your friends that you’re technically a student of Yale, Duke or Stanford. While they’re not all free, there are a few offered on the house. One unique course, Learning How to Learn, takes you through expert learning techniques across diverse disciplines like art, music and literature, covering the brain’s two different learning methods. Coursera’s free class on professional productivity teaches techniques for more effective scheduling and organization, as well as creating paths to reach goals in the most time efficient way possible.

If you’re looking for more concrete subjects, there are a plethora of free courses you can enroll in, from accounting to SEO, and even an introduction to learning HTML5. You’ll be the company’s go-to jack of all trades in no time—with no harm done to your wallet.

Duolingo

If your Espanyol is scarily similar to the One Semester of Spanish Love Song, you can brush up for free with Duolingo—or start learning a whole new language altogether. Instead of memorizing words and meanings, Duolingo presents each language lesson as a game, making it less of a drag and increasing the chances that you’ll actually stick to learning it. Duolingo has language offerings beyond more mainstream languages like French or Spanish. If you’re up for a challenge, give learning the international auxiliary language Esperanto a try.

TedTalks

We’re living in a time where some of the smartest, most successful people alive graciously put their best pieces of advice online for free, thanks to the TedTalks series. Not only is TedTalks a completely free resource that’ll increase your knowledge of the latest innovations and research, there are also more targeted talks to teach you how to solve any problem, become a great leader and launch a successful startup business—as told by the people who have solved big business problems, became great leaders and founded successful startups.

Even if an MBA is on your to-do list, you don’t need to shell out that extra dough right now to increase your knowledge and skill set. You just need to be smart about where you’re going to increase your knowledge. Log on and watch the relevant skills section of your resume expand rapidly.